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Hearty, brainy foods

business Updated: Oct 24, 2011 01:17 IST
HT Correspondent

The top benefits, globally, that parents want their children to receive from eating healthy foods relate to heart health, reduced risk of disease, brain development and immunity. This is the latest finding from a worldwide study conducted by global market research company, Ipsos.

Parents from 24 countries surveyed were given a list of benefits their children may receive from eating healthy foods and asked to rank which benefits were most important. On a global basis, healthy heart (23%) was ranked highest in importance, followed closely by reduced risk of disease later in life, better brain development and better immunity (18% each). http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/24_10_biz5.jpg

Indian parents want better brain development (24%), followed by better immunity (20%), healthy heart and reduced risk of disease later in life (both 13%) from healthy foods for kids.

Differences in priorities were found to exist across countries.

Sonia Pall, CEO, Ipsos India, said: “It is not surprising that parents in different countries have different motivations for feeding their children healthy foods. They are influenced by their unique value systems, the availability of different foods and medicines in their countries, and the messages they receive from their local media and governments. Governments not only influence consumers, but also exert an increasing influence on food manufacturers.”

Parents are finding more support from their local governments on how packaged foods are marketed to children. Legislation already exists in several (mostly Western) countries that restrict food advertising to children.

The US is proposing that foods advertised to children must meet certain criteria in terms of the healthy ingredients they contain. The World Health Organisation is also getting involved by making recommendations to its member states to limit children’s exposure to the marketing of less healthy food options.

“Manufacturers are feeling the pressure from all angles to market healthier food to children,” Pall said. “At the same time, manufacturers need to appeal to children by offering great-tasting food with ‘kid appeal’, as children still influence food purchases in many countries. As for tomorrow, we can expect innovations in kids’ foods that go beyond health basics, such as vitality boosting snacks, beverages to replace snack occasions, and hunger-suppression products — and we can expect new marketing strategies that will be just as exciting.”